What do you guys think about the idea of spending the weekend in the desert with me? Perchance we shall encounter a coyote, lizard and other fantastical beasts. We’ll need to bring a few bottles of water since deserts generally lack that stuff. Let’s also buy some sunscreen. We might also need to commandeer somebody’s camel if our legs get tired. Now that we sort of have plan, all that remains is choosing the desert. Here are 11 that we should consider.
1. Atacama Desert – South America
The Atacama Desert, located in Peru and Chili, lays west of the Andes. It’s known as the world’s driest place and with good reason: some of the parts have never received rain. But in spite of this, the desert is well inhabited. In fact, more than a million people live there. That’s a lot of desert dwellers, guys. The reason for this is because the Atacama is actually relatively cool as deserts go since it lays along the Pacific coast.
2. Tabernas Desert – Spain
If you would prefer to visit a desert without leaving mainland Europe, Tabernas is your only option. But it’s a pretty nice one. Located in southeastern Spain, through the years it served as a popular place to shoot spaghetti westerns since the terrain is similar to the southwestern United States. You’ll even come across Western-style towns as you travel through. If you’re a fan of the Algerian hedgehog (and why wouldn’t you be?) you might spot one here.
3. Chihuahuan Desert – New Mexico
Among the largest deserts in North America covering 175,000 square miles (282,000 km²), you will find a lot of amazing plants and animals here, including the Arizona rainbow cactus and the gray fox. But the most popular attraction is the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, with features incredible landscapes of white gypsum sand dunes.
4. Sahara Desert – Africa
Spread out over most of northern Africa, the Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert (3.6 million square miles or 9.3 million km²) in the world and third largest overall. When most people think about the Sahara, they imagine that it’s nothing but amazing sand dunes. But these actually only make a small portion of the desert. Most of the desert consists of rocky hamada or barren land with rocky plateaus. The Sahara also contains mountains, occasional grasslands, and salt flats.